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Online poll’ is effort to generate public comments

As part of our movement into the internet age with our website,we are working to fold together our traditional newspaper with ourelectronic edition – www.dailyleader.com.

As part of our movement into the internet age with our website,we are working to fold together our traditional newspaper with ourelectronic edition – www.dailyleader.com.

One of our methods is our interactive weekly opinion poll, whichallows readers to voice their approval or disapproval to questionswe think are on the minds of our readers.

Until this past week our top ranking poll in the number ofresponses was one dealing with the conflict between privateproperty owners and operators of ATVs (all-terrain vehicles).Readers responded with 746 votes cast. ATV owners out-numberedproperty owners by over 4 to 1.

This past week when we asked about the Postal Service’s plan toinstall mail boxes and offer only curb-line delivery to residentialneighborhoods — readers responded with 10,368 votes as of 8 a.m.Friday. By mid-day that figure had climbed to 12,540 votes –10,967 against the idea and 1,573 for the installation of the newmail boxes.

What do these number mean? Absolutely nothing. Zilch. Zero.

They are gathered unscientifically and can be manipulated byanyone who has the time and desire to repeatedly vote or to telltheir friends to vote.

From what we understand about what happened this past week,someone or group who likes the idea of the new mail boxes beganstuffing the box, and by Wednesday the yes votes outnumbered the novotes. In response, folks against the idea began voting — over andover again.

An upgrade to our internet site in the coming weeks will slowsome of the box stuffing, but even so, the poll will never bescientific and should not be used as a definitive source for localpublic opinion.

So why do we publish the poll?

A purpose of a good newspaper is to stimulate public discussionon issues. Our hope is that through these questions we will stirpeople to discuss issues and, hopefully, speak out when they agreeor disagree with actions going on around us. We reserve space dailyon our opinion page for such comments.

Public officials, as well as us here at the newspaper, are oftenfrustrated when the public does not respond to local issues.

Public officials need your input to help them make decisions. Ifit is a special interest group that is making all the noise, thenguess who’s concerns are being acted upon.